U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday that government forces in Syria should be held together when President Bashar al-Assad is forced from power.
Panetta, who spoke to CNN during a visit to Tunisia, warned that the mistakes of the Iraq war must not be repeated.
“I think it's important when Assad leaves, and he will leave, to try to preserve stability in that country,” Panetta said. “The best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military and police as you can, along with security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That's the key.”